tv Florida State of the State CSPAN March 15, 2019 9:07am-9:50am EDT
desantis delivered his first state of the state address to lawmakers in tallahassee. he outlined his top legislative priorities which included water conservation, education, healthcare and school safety. on immigration policy the governor said florida would not be a sanctuary state. this is 35 minutes. [ applause ] >> members of the florida
>> mr. president, mr. speaker, members of the house and senate, fellow cabinet members and justices of the supreme court, mindful of the economic opportunities that lie before us, understanding the environmental challenges that require our attention and conscious of our obligations to education and public safety, i consider myself blessed to stand before you at this particular moment in our history as florida's 46th governor. [ applause ] to each and every one of you i'm grateful for your willingness to serve. i'm also proud of the accomplishments of our state and
its citizens and i'm optimistic that this legislative session provides us with the unique opportunity to advance needed reforms in a variety of different areas that will strengthen our state and benefit the people now and in the future. having spent three terms in a different legislature, a prison that i call the u.s. house of representatives, it's quite a privilege to actually be able to work with a legislative body that has demonstrated the ability to get things done and to lead. and i know -- [ applause ] and i know because i've already seen it firsthand. two years ago the legislature here unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging and apologizing for gross injustices perpetrated in the middle of the last century against four african-american men, charles greenly, walter urban, samuel shepherd and earnest thomas.
the resolution requested that the governor review the cases and issue pardons for these men. upon taking office i took action, joined by our cabinet members, i approved pardons for all four men a few days into my term. it is never too late to do the right thing. [ applause ] now in the gallery today is carol greenly, the daughter of charles greenlee. her father passed away in 2012 but i hope that he and the rest of the grove wood four are looking down with some satisfaction that justice, however imperfect, eventually prevailed and we here today are united in insisting that the
constitutional protections central to a free society are honored for all of our citizens. [ applause ] so, members of the house and senate, i thank you for leading the way on this important issue. i observed during my inaugural address that the words of alexander hamilton, energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. i believe it and i've worked to exemplify it. less than 60 days my administration has taken bold action to address issues that floridians care about, reorienting our environmental policy around the goal of cleaning up our water, announcing far reaching education reforms designed to make florida number one in skills-based education by the
year 2030, procuring hundreds of millions of dollars for storm ravaged parts of northwest florida, bringing accountability to entities ranging from the broward sheriff's office to the south florida water management district and appointing three spectacular justices to our state supreme court. [ applause ] and this is just the beginning. i'm proud to recognize as the president did my wife casey, she's been by my side as we've towered the state and has also blazed her own trail on issues like education, disaster relief and freedom for the people of venezuela. she has worked so hard and i think one thing is clear, the state of florida has a great
first lady. [ applause ] i'm convinced this whole governor thing for me is just a way for the people of florida to be able to have casey serve as their first lady. now, our kids, madison and mason, have taken over the governor's mansion but the baby proofing has been successful. i can report no artifacts of florida history have yet been destroyed, but stay tuned, mason will be walking very soon. just last week casey traveled to northwest florida to survey the hurricaine michael recovery efforts. we've both been to the region for the last few months. we work to stand with you as you build your communities stronger than before.
i've already traveled to washington, d.c. and secured a historic commitment from the trump administration to provide assistance to the communities that michael battered. my administration has worked to cut through red tape to expedite relief efforts and thanks to the leadership of your former house colleague, jared moscow wits, we are making great progress. [ applause ] here with us today is mayor al cathy and administrator tonya castro from the city of mexico beach, which was ground zero for hurricaine michael's wrath. they and many others affected by the storm have displayed remarkable resilience in the face of huge obstacles. they deserve our admiration and our support. these communities will not be
rebuilt in days, weeks or months, but they will be rebuilt. they will be rebuilt because we as floridians will answer the call as we always do. god bless the good people of northwest florida. [ applause ] executive energy and leadership are necessary to meet the challenges that are before us, but they are not sufficient. the constitutional system which separated powers, we together, the political branches, must work together so that we can build off the foundation that has been laid and set the stage for the future success of our state. well, how can we accomplish this task? i answer simply, be bold. be bold in championing economic
opportunity, be bold in protecting florida's environment, be bold in em proving education, be bold in defending the safety of our communities. be bold because while protection is not attainable, if we aim high, we can achieve excellence. florida is blessed with some of the nation's finest natural resources, we're the fishing and boating capital of the united states, our beaches bring millions of tourists to our state each and every year, the state's unique natural environment is central to our economy, our quality of life and our identity as floridians. i'm proud to have taken swift and bold action to protect our natural resources and improve florida's water quality. we are repositioning our water policy to meet the needs of our citizens by, among other things, expediting key projects like the eaa reservoir and raises the
tammy amy trail, establishing a blue green algae task force to develop policies to fight algae blooms, fight red tide and improve water quality and appointing a chief science officer to better harness scientific data and research in service to florida's most pressing environmental needs. i have also requested $2.5 billion over the next four years for water resources projects and everglades restoration. this represents a $1 billion increase compared to the previous four years and will allow us to bring major projects to completion. now, given the persistent water problems we have seen over the past several years, now is the time to be bold. we cannot leave for tomorrow that which we can do today. because the people of florida should have confidence that their interests are being reflected in policy implementation, i asked and receive the resignation of all members of the south florida water management district. we needed a fresh start and i'm
pleased to report that i've appointed a number of good people to this board. but we have a bold vision, we have good folks in key positions and with your support for these initiatives we will restore and reserve the beauty of florida for generations to come. [ applause ] it's often said that states serve as laboratories of democracy. we are in the midst of a great experiment among states regarding taxation and government spending. the result has been a migration of wealth from states that tax heavily, spend and regulate excessively the states like florida that pats lightly, spend conservatively and regulate reasonably. in the face of these trends some
of the states that have hemorrhaged benefits and taxpayers have decided to double down by raising existing taxes and even imposing new taxes. as george harrison once observed, if you get too cold they tax the heat, if you take a walk they tax your feet. but we are a mobile high-connected society and adds taxes become more onerous and as the business climate deteriorates in these states, people vote with their feet. taxpayers and businesses leave. tax base erodes and the fiscal situations of these states gets more ominous, yielding massive budget shortfalls. it is a vicious cycle. we won't repeat those mistakes here in florida. we will always remain a low tax state and we will never have an income tax here in the state of florida. [ applause ]
i have proposed more than $330 million in tax relief for florida families including property tax relief. i think we have to keep this economic momentum going. now, to those in states that may have a bad business climate and a bad political climate, my message is this, come to florida. we will maintain a healthy economic environment. we welcome your success, we won't chase jobs away through economic ignorance and demagoguery. we're also committed to modernizing our infrastructure and i know president galvano is focused on making that happen. thank you, mr. president, for your efforts, i think they're integral to us continuing to have economic success here in the state of florida. [ applause ] now, there are areas where
florida can do better. i hope the legislature passes legislation to reform the issue of aob which is really degenerated into a racquet and it is clear we need to reform some of our occupational licensing regime which borders on the absurd and primarily serves to frustrate opportunities for floridians. did you know you can become a snyder in the u.s. marine corps by completing training for -- semper fi -- by completing training for 79 days, which is roughly 632 hours, yet in florida becoming a licensed interior designer requires 1,760 hours. you can earn jump wings by completing army jump school in three weeks or about 168 hours. florida law requires 1,200 hours to become licensed as a barber. now, our dbpr secretary and your former colleague in the house has identified a number of these
requirements that need to be streamlined, rolled back or eliminated and i think this project merits your support. [ applause ] now, maintaining low taxes and a healthy economic climate are important, but to me the most important factor regarding florida's economic potential is human capital. if we support our university system, our state ledges and primary and secondary education, as well as the reforms needed to improve educational opportunities across the board, then we will be setting the stage for future economic success that will be the envy of the nation. as we sow, so shall we reap. i'm proud that florida's university system is ranked number one in the nation ahead
of texas, california and new york. now, many of you know firsthand this wasn't always so, the climate topped the rankings has been remarkable. i'm not sure how many people outside florida realize this, so i'm doing my part to spread the word. i was in new york city last week meeting with business leaders and stressed this fact and pledged that we in florida will do even more to build a world class talent pool. we've poised for growth in finance, technology, finance, aerospace and more. let's support the continued assent of our opportunities so that these industries can grow by employing our own graduates in good, high-paying jobs in our low tax business friendly environment. [ applause ] just as we're supporting our traditional universities, we should acknowledge that attending a four-year brick and ivy institution is one way to
get advanced knowledge and skills necessary for achieving economic success, but it's not the only way, and for many it's not even the best way. skills-based education offers a focus and oftentimes more cost effective means by which students can acquire the tools they need to be successful. now, working with your former speaker and our current commissioner of education, richard corcoran, i have prop e proposed a plan to take florida from the middle of the mack to number one in pork force education by 2030. earlier this year i had the opportunity to visit tampa bay technical high school who observe a successful example of workforce education firsthand. i met a young man who is with used to, glen wester iii. glen is a junior -- [ applause ]
again is a junior in the welding program at tampa bay tech and even though he's not quite old enough, he's already received job offers and good paying job offers at that, but he's also taking advanced placement courses and he will be able to choose between multiple pathways for success. glen, keep working hard. we wish you continued success and i applaud the hillsborough county school district for giving students like glen these opportunities. [ applause ] our workforce education initiatives include grants to place students in apprenticeships, money to train teachers in commuter science and funds for workforce programs
within our state college system. these reforms will make a difference and these reforms deserve your support. now, florida has made strides in primary and secondary education since i graduated from public school in dunedin in 1997 but we have a lot more to do. for years i've heard from parents and teachers about the problems of the system of standards testing and curriculum modeled after common core. parents have been frustrated by not being able to help their kids with basic math problems. i've instructed commissioner corcoran to spend the rest of the year engaged in consultation with parents, teachers, school administrators and employers so we can replace common core with high quality curriculum, streamline testing and a new emphasis on american civics. we want a system -- [ applause ] we want a system that demands excellence, but that also engenders public confidence.
we need to do more to recruit, retain and reward great teachers in our schools and to this end i have proposed replacing the best and brightest program with the revised $423 million program that will reward for than 40,000 teachers with bonuses approaching more than $10,000 and we are doing away with the s.a.t. requirement on that and i think it will end up being much more fair. i'm also requesting $10 million for tuition and loan forgiveness program for as many as 1,700 teachers to commit to teaching in florida schools for five years, attracting and keeping great teachers in our classroom should be a high priority for this body and it's a high priority for me. education opportunities shouldn't be limited by parental
income or zip code. one way florida's expanded opportunity has been the tax credit scholarship program for students from low income families. more than 100,000 students, nearly 70% of whom are african-american or hispanic with an average family income of roughly $26,000 per year are utilizing the scholarship. results have been encouraging. the urban institute recently released a study that found tax credit scholarship students are 43% more likely to attend a four-year college and 20% more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree, but students who use the scholarship more than four years are up to 99% more likely to attend college and up to 45% more likely to earn a bachelor's degree. more low income families would like the opportunity to obtain a scholarship for their kids, there are currently 14,000 students who qualified for the scholarship but are stuck on the waiting list. now, sharika white is one of
those mothers and she is with us here today. she is a single mother of three who supports her family by driving a garbage truck for the city of orlando. one of her sons is doing well in an orange county district school but her two younger boys needed a different environment, one struggled academically, the other had been bullied, but because her boys are on the waiting list for the tax credit scholarship program, sharika might not be able to afford to keep them in a more favorable environment. she is doing her best to give her boys a better future. i'm not satisfied to see hard-working parents like sharika mired on a wait list so i'm proposing to eliminate the wait list by creating an equal opportunity scholarship that is similar to the tax credit scholarship and will clear the wait list. we are a big diverse state and one size doesn't fit all when it comes to education. let's stand with working moms like sharika and empower them to choose the best learning environment for their kids. [ applause ]
we also need to stand by our students with special needs and their families. that means eliminating the wait list of 1,900 students for the gardner scholarship. now, donna and michael holt are here with us today and they have their son levi who has down's syndrome. he is on the waiting list for a gardner scholarship. students like levi have unique abilities that require a customized learning environment that the gardner esa is able to provide. the gardner scholarship is our way of saying that everyone counts and that these are lives worth living, that we stand with you and we want to get rid of that waiting list.
we need to enact policies to make health insurance, prescription drugs and medical care more affordable for floridians. now, as you are aware, healthcare is being hotly ga debated at the national level. let me say this, any proposal that seeks to eliminate the private health insurance policies of millions of floridians is simply unacceptable. government has no right to take away the policies that floridians earned through their jobs or that they purchased on the individual market. [ applause ] now, i want floridians to be able to purchase prescription drugs from canada at lower prices. there is an avenue under existing federal law to accomplish this. the president and i have had discussions, he is supportive of this effort and has asked me to plow ahead, which will require navigating an institutionally
hostile bureaucracy as we all know, but i think it's worth the effort because this could save money for individuals, could reduce costs for our businesses and it could relieve pressure on our state budget. i'm open as well to any ideas that the legislature has to tackle this problem, but one thing is clear, floridians need relief from the rising costs of prescription drugs. [ applause ] bringing price transparency to healthcare can also help reduce costs and i have instructed my secretary of aca mary mahue to expedite the price transparency database that you in the legislature have recently mandated. now, to make the tool effective, though, we need legislation to provide for shared savings policies so that if a patient does shop, they actually receive a personal financial benefit when they choose a more cost
effective option. i'm also supportive of speaker oleeva's call to foster innovation and competition in our healthcare system. we can't just continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. now, last year at this time the state was still reeling from the massacre at marjory stoneman douglas high school. out of that tragedy grew the msd commission which outlined a series of recommendations to approve -- improve security at florida schools. i support the recommendations and i ask that you enact them into law. these reforms are a testament to the tenacity, courage and character of the families of the parkland victims. the hard work of those like hunter pollock, who i believe is here with us today, and many others have already helped save lives and has made our state
even stronger. they should be commended for their efforts. [ applause ] i've gotten to know a number of families and one thing that's stuck with me is something i've heard a number of them say, that this was the most preventable school shooting maybe in history. when i took office many of the parkland families felt there had not been any accountability at the school district or at the sheriff's office for the string of failures that culminated in the massacre so i acted by successful petitioning for a statewide grand jury that will investigate school security fall lures in broward county as well as other districts. i also suspended scott israel as the sheriff of broward and replaced him with gregory tony.
this suspension will come before the senate soon and the failures of the former sheriff are well documented. why any is that irrelevant would want to thumb his nose at the parkland families and eject sheriff tony who has made history as the first african-american sheriff in the history of broward is beyond me, but i judge not, lest i be judged. i take public safety seriously. there is a big debate going on in national politics about immigration. we have a limited role in florida, but one thing i think we can do and what i can declare is that florida will not be a sanctuary state. we will not allow someone here illegally to commit criminal misconduct and simply be returned to our communities and we won't tolerate sanctuary cities that actively frustrate law enforcement by shielding criminal aliens from
accountability at the expense of public safety. here with us today are two parents, angel parents, bobby and keeyan michael from jacksonville, florida. bobby is a retired chief petty officer in the navy so we thank you for your service. their son brandon was killed by a foreign national who was illegally in our country, had been deported two prior times and had been stopped by law enforcement, given a citation and released just prior to killing their son. now, brandon was a young man engaged to be married, but instead of planning a wedding, bob and keeyan had to plan a funeral. had our laws simply been enforced bobby and keeyan might not have had to bury their son. so let's do the right thing by the michael family, let's prohibit sanctuary cities in the state of florida. [ applause ]
international events usually have a particular resonance here in florida. earlier this year i had a meeting in the oval office alongside senators rubio and scott, as well as congressman diaz ballard about the dire situation in venezuela. to the president's -- he recognized juan guaido and made clear that nicolas maduro has got to go. now, the tragedy in venezuela is the result of a failed socialist experiment, a system that is hostile to human liberty and contrary to human nature. the tyranny that has resulted is the natural outgrowth of trying to impose this failed ideology
on the people of venezuela. so to the venezuela exile community in florida and venezuelan americans in florida we stand with you and the people of venezuela who are seeking freedom and a better future for the nation of venezuela. [ applause ] the eyes of the free world have descended upon venezuela and it is imperative that freedom prevail. we also know that the despair in venezuela wouldn't be possible without the nefarious influence of the cuban government and the castro regime. i applaud the president who just recently allowing the application of title 3 of the lebertade act and i support
additional efforts to hold the castro regime accountable. i would like to see the castro dictatorship go the way of maduro and to some day see a free and democratic cuba take its place. [ applause ] i offer my thanks to the legislature for defending the u.s./israel relationship by enacting anti-bds legislation and i know there are proposals to make it stronger and i welcome those. i reject attempts to target israel for disfavored treatment and we will enforce the anti-bds provisions reg rousely. this enterprise of targeting israel for economic harm is such a fraud and merely a cover for
anti-semitism. rest assured in florida bds is doa. [ applause ] now, we will be taking a delegation to israel in may and i look forward to furthering the relationship between florida and israel on a number of fronts. people sometimes ask how did you meet your wife and the story was we both happened to be at a driving range at a golf course hitting golf balls, i had been -- i had to tune up to play in some charity thing, so i was out there whacking away, casey was one, two hitting bays off.
in between us there was a bucket of balls that was kind of half-used so half-filled. i was interested in talking to her, she was looking at the balls seeing if she would be able to hit the extra. we decided to split that, we started talking, went out and the rest is history. the lesson i learned from that is that sometimes it just pays to be at the right place at the right time. i think we here in this chamber are the right leaders in the right place at the right time. after all, many are called to serve in elected office, but only a few are actually entrusted with authority by the voters and fewer still are presented with the opportunities we see before us today. let's fight the good fight, let's finish the race, let's keep the faith so that when floridians look back on the fruits of this session they will see it as one of our state's finest hours. thank you and god bless you.
[ applause ] here on c-span 3 we're live in washington at the foundation for defense of democracies for discussion on u.s. missile defense strategy and potential threats from iran and north korea. it should get under way shortly. happening this morning as north korea is threatening today to suspend negotiations with the trump administration over their nuclear arms program, saying that kim jong-un the nation's leader would soon decide on whether to resume those missile talks. the vice-chairman, the vice foreign minister of north korea this morning in a news conference said that personal relations between mr. kim and president trump were, quote, still good and the chemistry is, quote, mysteriously wonderful. mike pompeo the secretary of state in his news conference this morning also addressed the north korea issue. we covered that this morning and